In the early 1970s, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath marked a new phase in rock music. The previous decade saw rock music spreading in the Western world amidst social and political changes.
The ’70s brought new innovations, defining genres more distinctly. Ozzy and his bandmates transformed the heavy rock sound of The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles’ proto-metal track “Helter Skelter” into something distinct: heavy metal.
Ozzy Osbourne is often called the Prince of Darkness and a key figure in heavy metal, but he’s not entirely comfortable with this label. He expressed his dislike for the term “heavy metal,” finding it too broad.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, he explained his feelings: “I hate that terminology because it goes from Poison to Black Sabbath, and there is quite a difference.”
Despite recognizing the diversity among metal bands, Osbourne has acted as a supportive mentor in the metal scene. In the ’80s and ’90s, he took bands like Metallica, Motörhead, and Mötley Crüe on tour. He also provided a platform for groups such as Slipknot, Tool, Pantera, and Slayer through Ozzfest.
In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone, Osbourne revealed his top ten favorite metal albums, and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” made the cut. This album is considered a significant contribution to the thrash metal subgenre. Osbourne recalled, “I took Metallica on tour with me after the release of Master of Puppets [in 1986]. The album was a milestone for the band and for heavy metal.”
In a conversation with Metal Hammer in 2022, Osbourne reminisced about his first meeting with Metallica. The encounter happened at LA’s Sunset Marquis, where both bands were staying.
Osbourne had no idea that Metallica were big fans of Black Sabbath. He knew this only when he heard them covering one of his band’s songs. He chuckled, “I remember walking past the dressing room and they were playing Black Sabbath – I had no idea they were big fans, I thought they were taking the piss!”
During the tour, James Hetfield of Metallica approached Osbourne with a request to play “Paranoid” together. The collaboration showcased Metallica’s admiration for Sabbath.
Soon, this mutual respect came full circle. Osbourne joined Metallica on stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.